Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, or Vitis Vinifera Blanc, is one of the oldest wine grape varieties. Still grown today, this grape vine is an interesting and fruitful addition to your garden.
Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains originated in the Mediterranean region in the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is a popular white wine grape variety in France and Germany. This climbing vine produces an early crop of bunches of small, round, fragrant fruit which can be used as table grapes or in wine-making. At maturity they will be golden yellow or light brown. The young leaves are bronze-red and shiny when they emerge in spring, turning a medium green and then brown before falling in late autumn.
Vitis Vinifera Blanc is winter hardy in most of the UK, and will grow vigorously with some support. It can extend up to a metre in its first year. Like all grape varieties it will respond to pruning with increased fruit production. In the first year restrict the growth to one main stem, pinching out side shoots at one leaf. Cut the vine back to three buds when winter comes, and in the second year let 2 shoots grow. Do not allow the vine to fruit until the third year, when you can let 2 lateral shoots produce 6 buds each, growing up into shoots which will produce fruit. In future years, do the same with the two strongest shoots, cutting away the rest, and let 8-10 buds each grow upwards and produce bunches of highly fragrant, delicious grapes. Plant vines 1.5 metres apart.
Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grows best in full sun in moist, freely draining fertile loam or clay soil with a neutral ph. They do not do well in sandy soil. They will need a sheltered location as their early-setting buds are vulnerable to a late frost.
Since all grape varieties need to be trellised, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains is a natural choice for training on a south-facing wall where it will receive the protection it needs, as well as creating interest with its vine structure, leaves, and the decorative, fragrant fruit in late summer and early autumn. The heavy scent can be enjoyed when the vines are planted near a seating area.
Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains has been cultivated for thousands of years, and with good reason. Its fragrant, delicious grapes are still prized today both for wine-making and fresh eating, and its vigorous vines will add interest to your garden.
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